Love Yourself Today review – tearful celebration of Damien Dempsey’s music

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Even if you’re not into his lumpen folk-rock polemics, this documentary and performance movie goes a agelong mode to explaining Dublin singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey’s unshakeable home-crowd following, and wherefore – arsenic we spot astatine the opening of Ross Killeen’s reflective movie – helium is capable to battalion retired a bid of gigs each Christmas. Dempsey’s communicative makes a good lawsuit for euphony arsenic idiosyncratic balm, but juxtaposing it with 3 of his fans’ idiosyncratic histories deepens the scope of his creation into a existent enactment of nationalist communion and shared healing. At least, if the deluge of tears streaming down concertgoers’ cheeks present is thing to spell by.

The 3 Dubliners we perceive from are elegant recovering heroin addict Nadia, who “gave up connected life” aft her brother’s murder; boxing manager Packy, gripped by societal phobia since his teens and witnesser to the alleyway shooting of a friend; and longbearded Jonathan, a reformed alcoholic erstwhile traumatically attacked by a schoolteacher, who has discovered caller meaning successful life. The Dublin street-life nuggets – changeable successful beautifully desolate achromatic and achromatic by cinematographer Narayan van Maele – could beryllium consecutive retired of Dempsey’s lyrics. Unsurprisingly, determination are adjacent correspondences successful the musician’s past: the shy working-class lad who started to sail adjacent to the upwind aft his parents’ divorcement and had his roadworthy to Damascus infinitesimal aft being beaten senseless by 15 people. “It was a bully small left-right,” helium says. “It enactment maine connected a amended path.”

As good arsenic its refreshing accent connected intelligence health, and the value of self- and communal care, Love Yourself Today besides makes wide however rooted successful Irish contented and people ideals Dempsey is; the sweaty, chest-beating wide therapy of his Christmas concerts is an outsized mentation of the living-room household “singsongs” of his youth. “Don’t ever deliberation the euphony comes from you. It comes done you,” is conscionable 1 of the galore platitudes Dempsey, who looks similar a soulful bouncer, serves up. With his mum successful the audience, who’s going to reason with that?